Monday, January 20, 2020

BSI Weekend Day 4

Then we came to the end.  Sunday's alarm told me it was time to pack up before heading to my last event, the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes brunch.  Checkout time was 11 and the brunch didn't start for a while after that, so a lot of us milled around for a while.  I got to spend a good amount of time with Michele Lopez from Italy, and he and I compared the difference between his experiences in Europe and mine in middle America.  Some people had flights that morning, so some of our goodbyes were said before the mass of us headed to brunch.

I was warned that the food wasn't very good at this brunch, but this was the last event of the weekend, so I was still looking forward to spending just a little bit more time with everyone.  I was pleasantly surprised by the food once I made my way through the buffet.  Bacon, sausage, potatoes, and tomatoes were all great.  There were also scrambled eggs and mushrooms, but I can't speak to those.  So, if anyone tells you the ASH brunch has sub-par food.  Let me reassure that it's very good.


But you know what's better than the food?  The camaraderie!  After so many structured meals and scores of speakers, this was a pleasant way to end the weekend.  You checked in, found a table, got your food, and mingled until it was time for you to head to the airport or train station.  I snagged a table with Monica Schmidt and Al Shaw and talked about Holmes in the Heartland, Chicago scions, whether or not Monica would make a good G.I. Joe villain, what Al thinks about paper straws, and plenty of other things that you do with your friends. 

Also in attendance was Susan Rice and Mickey Fromkin.  Susan and I have been emailing lately about her involvement with young Sherlockians back in the 70s.  As someone who spends a lot of time with kids, I was looking for any tips and tricks she remembered.  Susan told me to see her and Mickey at the Gillette luncheon and she would have some papers for me, but she would be too busy to talk then as they oversee the festivities.  She would have more time to talk at the BSI lunch the following day.  Good to her word, Susan had a manila envelope full of histories sitting on her lap at the Gillette luncheon, just waiting for me to show up.  I tried to spend some time with her on Saturday, but trying to talk to Susan Rice is like trying to get an audience with the Pope.  I swear,  there was a line of people wanting to have a few minutes with her!  Although I didn't get Susan time on Saturday, I did get to talk with Mickey, and she is such a wonderful person!  I want a reality show that just follows Susan and Mickey through their daily lives.  Mickey could easily do a whole show on just her Sherlockian shirts!

Anyway, I finally got time with Susan at the brunch on Sunday (after waiting in line).  She told me all about the Trifling Monographs meetings that she oversaw, some of the amazing quizzes held there, what students did as part of their meetings, and many other things.  There weren't any chairs around her, so I ended up sitting on the floor just to hear these stories.  Unfortunately, my knees aren't what they used to be, and I had to finally get up.  Sure enough, someone else was right there to take my place!

I then butted into Charles and Kris Prepolec, Dena Howlett, Bob Stek, and David Harnois's table for a while.  I learned about the Canadian marijuana laws, travels in Europe, theater carpentry, what a bad glass of Guinness tastes like, and plenty of other bric-a-brac.  Sunday's brunch was very much like the last day of summer camp.  Lots of pictures were being taken and everyone was relishing in those last few moments.  People drifted off in twos and threes, saying their goodbyes.  And when it was your turn, you made your rounds as well.


Cindy Brown and I shared an Uber to the airport, split up at our gates, and I was left to sit and appreciate how blessed I was to get to spend four days with some really great people.  Not only was I able to take time off of work for this trip, but donations to the John H. Watson fund allowed me to go, as I was a recipient of so many people's financial generosity.  But the generosity that will stick with me forever is the welcoming that I experienced from everyone I came across. 

From my first night, I was swept up in the good-nature of everyone there.  Friendships were strengthened, online acquaintances turned in to real life friends, new people were met, and a convivial atmosphere was all around us.  The elephant in the room is that the Baker Street Irregulars is an invitation only organization and the BSI dinner is also by invitation.  Those are facts, and I can't argue for or against them.  I can tell you that every other event during the weekend is open to everyone and another dinner is held during the BSI dinner to make sure that everyone has something to do.  The Lost in New York Dinner on Saturday was created specifically for people to have an event where they could get together.  I spent time with Republicans, Democrats, people with purple hair, people with no hair, gay, straight, young, old, longtime Sherlockians, and some who haven't even read all 60 stories.  Everyone got along with one another. 

I may never be invited to the BSI dinner again.  Will I be bummed?  Sure.  I loved being in that atmosphere with people I enjoy and respect.  But you know what?  I'm going back to New York next January whether I have an invitation or not.  Because this may be called the BSI Weekend, but only three events are actually put on by the BSI, and two of them are open to the public.  There is so much to do and so many people to spend time with.  For a Sherlockian like me who enjoys, no LOVES, spending time with other Sherlockians, this weekend was a dream come true.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

BSI Weekend Day 3

And then we came to the busiest of all the days: Saturday.

After another quick breakfast with Mark Jones, I was off to the Beacon Society board meeting.  If you are unfamiliar with the Beacon Society, it is a group dedicated to helping teachers, librarians, museum directors, theater directors, etc. introduce Sherlock Holmes to young people.  So many programs have been granted funds by the Beacon Society that it's hard to keep count.  If you know of someone who is in a position to teach or lead some kind of Sherlockian program for young people, please have them look into the Beacon Society.  We are always ready to support educators financially for their ideas or provide examples of other programs that they could build on.


The board meeting was great.  The Beacon Society continues to move forward, and soon will have a new program for libraries that's ready made for them.  I had to miss the open meeting where some things were discussed in more detail.  This was probably my biggest bummer of the whole weekend, as my friend Derrick Belanger won the Beacon Award for his tireless work introducing Holmes to kids.  But I had good reason: I had a book signing to do!

Two years ago, Marino Alvarez and Tim Greer reached out to me to write a chapter on teaching Sherlock Holmes to middle grade students for the BSI Professional Series book on education.  After a long anticipation, "Education Never Ends" was finally released on Saturday!  I thought I'd have a few books to sign along with the two editors and co-contributor Shannon Carlisle.  My idea of a "few" was a gross underestimation.  After AN HOUR AND A HALF of constant signing, the stream of BSI Press customers finally let up enough for me to visit the dealer's room.




Imagine Black Friday.  Now put that in one narrow hotel conference room and fill it with Sherlockians.  You have the BSI Weekend dealer's room.  You could take a second mortgage out to shop with and still feel like you missed something!  On one hand, I knew that signing books for the first hour and half kept me from buying books and items that I would like.  But my wallet and wife  were very happy that I didn't have free reign all morning.

I did pick up one of the first special editions of The Conan Doyle Review, The Newspapers 2020 from the Sherlockians of Baltimore, Canadian Holmes: the First Twenty-Five Years, a back issue of the BSJ, and of course, Education Never Ends.  Joe Eckrich couldn't make the trip this year, so he had me working as pack mule for him with all of the new releases from Wessex Press and BSI Press.  So once I was completely loaded down with purchases, it was up to my room to drop them off, and back down to the lobby for the quick trip to the BSI Reception Luncheon.

A quick word about the hotel lobby.  I get very anxious about new experiences, but I quickly learned that a friendly face could always be found in the Roosevelt Lobby and they would always offer to walk with you wherever you were going.  Traditional Sherlockians have received criticism for being cliquish and I found the opposite to be true this weekend.  Everyone in attendance was welcomed with open arms.  And if you didn't know someone ahead of time, all you had to do was stick out your hand and introduce yourself, especially in the hotel lobby.  This is probably fodder for a different blog post, but the Roosevelt lobby quickly soothed all of my anxiety about going to new events alone.


Back to the itinerary.  Back at the Reception Luncheon, you picked your own seats, and Greg Ruby and Mike McSwiggin cleverly put us right by the bar and close to the food line.  Smart men.  Other than Greg and Mike, I was lucky enough to sit with Jen Liang, Frank Cho, Denny Dobry and Ralph and Debbie Hall.  Al and Betsy Rosenblatt gave their wonderful year in review poem, Michael Kean gave a brief talk as new head of the BSI, and Peter Blau conducted the annual auction to support the John H Watson fund.  Other than that, the afternoon was for hanging out with friends while the snow came down outside.








Saturday night has traditionally not had an official event, although many folks use this as time to get out into the city, hang out with friends, or eat oysters.  Jerry and Chrys Kegley host an unofficial dinner for everyone else to have a structured event to go to.  It's a nice, laid back evening, with door prizes (so many magnets!), great beef stew, and a ridiculously hard quiz on modes of transportation.  The Kegleys have created a very welcoming evening that concludes around 9:00, with plenty of time for people to head downstairs to the bar and spend their last night in New York with friends.


O'Lunney's is the meeting place every night of the BSI Weekend, and most people end up there for at least one night during their stay.  I hadn't made it there yet, so Saturday was my night.  Moving around from table to table put me in lots of fun conversations with Heather Holloway, Crystal Noll, Chris Zordan, Rusty Mason, Anastasia Klimchynskaya, David Harnois, Tiffany Knight, Curtis Armstrong, Don Hobbs, Tim Greer, Ashley Polasek, Betsy Rosenblatt, Jen Liang, and a lot of other people.



We made it 2:21 AM at the bar, and I was ready for bed.  Some stronger souls than me closed down the bar at 4:00, but by that time I was asleep in my bed, resting up for my last day in New York.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

BSI Weekend Day 2

I always wondered why Brad Keefauver posts quick updates when he's at cons and events.  Now I know it's because one all-encompassing post would be way too much at once!

Friday kicked off with an informal get together with some Sherlockian teachers, known as the PTA (Priory Teachers Association) for breakfast in the lobby.  I keep saying this, but meeting Sherlockians in person after only knowing them through emails has never been a let down!  Derrick Belanger and Mark Jones definitely kept that streak alive.  Derrick is the powerhouse behind Belanger Books, an independent press that puts out specific Sherlockian topics, including a pastiche collection aimed at middle grade readers.  AND he's the recipient of this year's Beacon Society Beacon Award.  And has anyone heard of this new podcast Doings of Doyle?  That's Mark Jones.  He is a solid Doyleian, so much so that he had to rush off from our breakfast for a meeting about a new Arthur Conan Doyle society.  Shannon Carlisle joined us at the end, and the preeminent BSI teacher (who gave a toast to Mrs. Hudson last night, comparing her to a teacher of gifted children) always brings a lot of heart to a conversation.


After that, I had some down time.  And being a few blocks away from the New York Public Library, I couldn't NOT visit.  So it was off to take the required pictures of the library lions, Patience and Fortitude, marvel at the reading room, appreciate that J.D. Salinger was more than the guy who wrote "Catcher in the Rye," and visit the original Winnie the Pooh toys before heading off to my first official Sherlockian activity for the day.  Oh, and there was a gift shop at the library.  So....







The William Gillette Memorial Luncheon was next up for the day and it was a great turnout.  Unfortunately, I was one of the last people to register, so I found myself in the back of the room, so it was hard to hear the announcements some time.  But outweighing that, I had some delightful folks at my lunch table, including a fellow Illinoisian also in New York for her first time.  I also completed my I Hear of Sherlock bingo card by finally getting to meet Scott Monty in person.  Like me, he was a late registrant so the back of the room where were the cool kids hung out.

I headed back to the hotel, got to my room, and realized I'd left my key in the room.  On my way down to the lobby, I realized I'd left my library souvenirs and some Sherlockian articles at the restaurant.  On the way to the restaurant, I realized I still had to get a souvenir for my daughter.  So, I hot-footed it back to the restaurant, made a pointless trip to the Radio City Music Hall gift shop, hit up a NYC tchotchke shop, and finally made it back to my room with a new key.  After a much needed nap, it was time.  The BSI Dinner.

I love Sherlockians.  I find every single person in this hobby interesting.  And being in a room full of some of the most dedicated and intelligent Sherlockians was great.  David Harnois was a fellow first-timer, and we kept checking in with each other to appreciate how great the evening was.  I somehow lucked out to have a great set of table mates, Sonia Fetherston (who was too shy to let me take a picture with her), Evie Herzog, Jeffory Hart, Dan Polvere, Bill Mason, Marilynne McKay, and Barbara Cooper. 


After the program ended and investitures were issued (Carlina De La Cova!), the majority of folks adjourned to the bar downstairs.  Being a private club, only people staying at the Yale Club could order drinks, so poor Charles and Kris Prepolec had to field a bunch of drink orders when we first arrived.  Once I had a beer in hand, I took a minute to step away and help my wife deal with a power outage and beeping sump pump back home (being a grown up can be a headache sometimes), it was into the fray.  By this point, my anxiety was kicking in a bit, so when I was able to settle into a conversation with Ashley Polasek and Curtis Armstrong, it was nice to take a deep breath.  Curtis soon got pulled away, but was replaced by Ken Ludwig, and the three of us had probably my best conversation for the whole weekend so far.  Ashley shared her research on affirmative fandom vs. transformative fandom with us, and I now view the different camps of Sherlockians in a whole new light.  Ken and I may have found a way to spread The Beacon Society to a major library system, and plenty of other nice points. 

At 1 AM, the Yale Club kicked us out and it was back to my room and a few short hours of sleep before the Beacon Society meeting and the craziness of the next day.

BSI Weekend Day 1

Oh my goodness.

I am at the BSI Weekend in New York right now, and words can't describe how much fun this is! 

My original plan was to blog at the end of each day with quick updates, but the nonstop official and unofficial events, my own small amount of New York sightseeing, late night socializing, and early morning wake up times have all conspired against that plan.

Let's see.  Thursday.  That seems like a month ago.

Aside from being a Sherlockian, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to motivate students to become readers.  That led to me being appointed to the Scholastic Books Teacher Advisor Council for 2019.  So even though my tenure is over, I still reached out and got to spend a great afternoon at Scholastic headquarters and go out to lunch with some employees there.  Imagine whatever your favorite thing.  And then you get to go to the place where those things are made.  That's me with Scholastic.  I could write a book about how great that company is at promoting children's literacy, but this is a Sherlockian blog, so let's get the show on the road.


Thursday night was the Distinguished Speaker Lecture.  I was happy to snag a seat with Shannon Carlisle and Bill Mason from Nashville, some of my favorite Sherlockians.  Dr. Theodora Goss, author of the Athena Club series, gave a great talk about anthropology and its role in Victorian London.  It will be in an upcoming issue of the Baker Street Journal, so I won't try to summarize it here.  Dr. Goss really knows her stuff.


After that, I thought the night was done until I wandered into the lobby.  Everyone was there! Before I knew it, I had been invited out by Ray Betzner, Jenn Eaker, and Tim Greer.  Following along in their wake led me to a speakeasy diner where I was the only person at the table that didn't order French toast for dinner, and then to the Blue Bar to hear stories of olden times back in the 1900s. 


Later on, I headed up to the Wessex Press party in the Presidential Suite, and walking in was like a homecoming.  I can't even remember everyone in that room, but Steve Doyle, Mark Gagen, Al Shaw, Monica Schmidt, Greg Ruby, Charles and Kris Prepolec, Carlina De La Cova, Regina Stinson, Jacqueline Morris, Julie McKuras... I know I forgotten some folks, but you get the drift.  It was a great group of folks!  And as icing on the cake, I got to meet Burt Wolder in real life!  He is a very delightful fellow.


A lot of my interactions this weekend have been a lot of meeting people in real life that I've known through Twitter and email for years.  Everyone I've met has been so nice and welcoming this weekend.  And folks I've known only through online interactions even more so.  Well, I have two minutes to get my shoes back on and head to the next event.  Off we go!

Friday, December 27, 2019

By Studying Their Children [COPP]

Every year, I get to spend two weeks introducing my fifth graders to the Sherlock Holmes Canon.  As we wrap up 2019 and look forward to 2020, I wanted to end the year with some of their thoughts on the stories we covered in class.  Beacons of the future!

The Blue Carbuncle


"I like how the plumber changed his life."

"I liked how it went from one place to another and had a lot of people in it."

"The gem fell out of the goose with its guts."

"I didn't like that they killed the goose."


The Red-Headed League
"I don't really get why [Jabez Wilson] took a job copying the encyclopedia."

"I like how Sherlock predicted it would happen on that night."

"I think it's interesting that you never really know what Holmes is thinking."

"The crook thought he outsmarted Sherlock Holmes and his partner escaped, but little did he know there was a policeman over there waiting for him."

"I thought it was so cool how Vincent and Duncan dug a tunnel in two months."

"I like how Sherlock used his walking stick to see if the ground was hollow."


The Speckled Band
"I like how the snake came into the bedroom."

"'The Speckled Band' was fun because of how Holmes hit the snake to make it attack the step-father."

"I LOVED 'The Speckled Band' because in the end the murderer was killed by his own weapon."

"It was very adventurous."

"I feel like Dr. Roylott deserved to die for killing his daughter."

"Karma!"


The Copper Beeches
"It was weird that a girl's hair was locked in a drawer."

"I didn't like that they treated the poor dog so bad."

"I liked all the strange clues."

"I liked all the locked doors in the unused hallway."

"Copper Beeches reminds me of a scary story because the house is very old and the family is evil."

"I didn't like that the girl had to cut her hair."


A Scandal in Bohemia
"I like this one because it shows that Sherlock Holmes can get outsmarted."

"I like how Mrs. Adler kept the photograph."

"It was cool when they threw the smoke bomb."

"The letter she left basically explains that she's smarter than him."

"I like that the king didn't want his fiancee to know who he dated."

"I didn't like how Sherlock got outsmarted."

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Interesting Interview: Scott Monty

Scott Monty is a Sherlockian empire.  Along with co-host Burt Wolder, he puts out at least SIX podcasts a month, two long-form interviews via I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, and a weekly bite-sized show, Trifles, where they go into minute details about the Canon.

For most of us, that would be more than enough to keep us occupied.  But not Scott!  He also maintains the website I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, the premier site for Sherlockian news.  He is also the moderator of the Facebook group, The Strangers' Room, a place for online Sherlockian discussion.


Oh, and he has a family and day job on top of all of that!  To pay the mortgage, he works as a speaker and coach for the business world.  You can find his thoughts in that field on ScottMonty.com and view his Fit to be Tied videos on his YouTube channel.  And even if you're not interested in the business world, his videos are worth a watch because they are filmed in front of Scott's great Sherlockian library!

Getting back to Scott the Sherlockian, let's wrap up 2019's Interesting Interview series with one of the hardest working Sherlockians out there:

How do you define the word “Sherlockian”?
Ah, the great debate about who's worthy and who isn't. To me, it's anyone who's interested enough in Sherlock Holmes to read, watch or listen to their favorite expression of Holmes more than once. I don't think it requires the reading of the original stories (although I'd encourage people to read the stories if they haven't yet). But it does suggest that someone has more than a passing interest in the character.

We actually did an episode of I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere in which we discussed this very thing, called (appropriately enough) Who Is a Sherlockian? In that episode we read the Editor's Gas Lamp from Vol. 3, No. 2 of The Baker Street Journal from 1948, titled "Who Is a Baker Street Irregular?", which included this description:

[He is anyone] "who feels his-pulses quicken and his step seem lighter whenever, in a darkling world, he turns the corner of reality into the most magic of all streets. He is one of that legion who cluster about the banners which Dr. Watson and his followers have raised, and who occasionally, as the spirit moves them, raise a modest banner of their own. He is a zealot in his own right, and a defender arid protagonist of the zeal in others that seeks to keep alive the cause in which he shares belief."

How did you become a Sherlockian?
It was quite by accident. I was doing a research paper in high school, and complained to my teacher that there weren't many secondary sources about Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I had just discovered the previous summer. She directed me to the local television station to do some sleuthing for the phone number of the leader of a Sherlockian society who had just appeared on "Evening Magazine."

When I dialed Tyke Niver, he answered the phone, "Baskerville Hall!" and I knew I reached the right guy. He was so generous with his time. We spent an hour on the phone together, ending with Tyke kindly inviting me to the next meeting of the Men on the Tor at Gillette Castle.

When I arrived (courtesy of my father, as I was too young to drive), I walked into the Great Hall of Gillette Castle, which was filled with teachers, engineers, businessmen, homemakers, tradesmen, and every strata of society you could imagine. And they all welcomed me and made me feel as if I had been a longtime member.

When I went away to school in Boston, I discovered other Sherlockian societies around New England and readily joined them all. I competed in quizzes, wrote papers, subscribed to the Baker Street Journal, and formed friendships that have lasted to this day. 


What is your favorite canonical story?
That's like asking a lady her age. Or like asking a parent about their favorite child. I'm glad to open the Canon to any page if I randomly take it off the shelf. I do confess a particular like for The Return, as that collection has the most stories that take place in the iconic 1895, have some of the best illustrations by Paget and Steele, and have some of the more interesting plots and memorable characters.


Who is a specific Sherlockian that you think others would find interesting?
That's like asking about my favorite story!

I tend to be quite sociable at most events, so I meet many Sherlockians. Plus, I've had occasion to interview quite a few on IHOSE, which we bill as the Sherlockian equivalent of Fresh Air.

To me, Sherlockians who have other associated hobbies are the most interesting. Perhaps they're interested in cryptography like Glen Miranker, or are Wodehousians like Curtis Armstrong, or portray William and Helen Gillette at Gillette Castle like Tyke and Teddie Niver, or came up with the legendary Sherlockian Dinners at the Culinary Institute of America like Al and Julie Rosenblatt.

As you can see, there's no lack of interesting people in Sherlockian circles. 





What subset of Sherlockiana really interests you?
I've always been a big fan of the Granada series. Jeremy Brett was my first Holmes, and he came onto the scene at about the same time that I first spoke to Tyke. You can hear the influence of that series in the introduction of every episode of I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere at at the conclusion of every episode of Trifles.

As far as collecting, I'm particularly interested in pre-1960 original scholarship from members of the Baker Street Irregulars. H.W. Bell, Edgar Smith, Christopher Morley, Vincent Starrett, Jay Finley Christ, and others wrote some excellent books and pamphlets during this time that hold up well. That's my focus.


What things do you like to research related to Sherlock Holmes?
I can't say I do much research, really. With Trifles, we're always picking a different topic to discuss, and we've done over 150 shows, so I tend to keep an open mind about topics.

Similarly, every two weeks we run a comic strip called "Baker Street Elementary," which Steve Mason shares with me. I decided that rather than just posting the panels, I'd create some sort of commentary, essay or scholarship to precede each. And some weeks, it's quite the challenge!

Between Trifles topics and the Baker Street Elementary essays, it really requires a broad and deep knowledge of the Canon — something gained from my early and avid interest, which led to winning many quizzes. That plus the Granada series, which used dialog and direct quotes liberally from the original stories. So much of it was burned into my brain at an impressionable age.


What does the production of a typical episode of "I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere" entail?
We try to plan out our editorial calendar for the year, getting a sense of the guests we'd like to have. These include authors of books from our sponsors, Wessex Press and the BSI Press (they're both churning out titles!). We also look for interesting Sherlockians who come to our attention in a variety of ways. We have a steady stream of pitches from authors and publishers as well.

In addition, we're always looking to speak with celebrities related to Sherlock Holmes. We've had a number of them turn us down because of age. These include the late actors Sir Roger Moore, Freddie Jones, Peter Salis, and the still-living Colin Jeavons.

So, the most onerous part is booking guests. Then Burt and I need to match up our schedules with theirs. We have a call with them and record the bulk of the program, followed by the "bookends" of the show, which includes our quiz "Canonical Couplets." From there, I work on the editing, taking out as many "ums" and "ahs" as possible, tightening up awkward silences, and making sure that dogs do nothing in the podcast-time. I add music, mix it all together and end with an mp3 file, which gets uploaded to our hosting service.

Then, I create show notes which include a description of the show and any relevant links. We post it early for our Patreon supporters, and then I post it to ihearofsherlock.com. Every subscriber gets an email updating them on it, and we share across social media.

Whew! If that sounds like a lot of work, it is.


If Sherlock Holmes were one of your clients as executive advisor and coach, what would be some recommendations you give the Great Detective? 
What a fascinating question! I'm not sure he would be a client. He's a little too high strung and independent.

If I did somehow convince myself to take him on, I suppose I'd ask him to use a little more empathy in his methods. He certainly knew how to turn it on when necessary, but he's more prone to being impatient and curt with people.


What book would you recommend to other Sherlockians?
Well, if they haven't yet read the stories, I'd go with the Doubleday edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes. For those who have read the stories, I think Edgar Smith's Profile by Gaslight provides a nice overview of the Game.


Where do you see Sherlockiana in 5 or 10 years from now?
I'd like to think we'll be in the midst of another wave of interest in Sherlock Holmes. These things tend to come in cycles, and in another ten years, we'll be ready for the next surge.

The internet will remain, of course. This is something I saw back in 2001 when I gave the Baker Street Journal a website and online ordering for the first time. We'll definitely see more immersive technology such as augmented reality and virtual reality come into play. And maybe a game or other interactive experience related to voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home.
Whatever media of the future there are, we'll hear of Sherlock there!

And yes, I hope Burt and I will still be doing the show then. ;-)


Saturday, December 7, 2019

These Good People [ENGR]

Spending time with fellow Sherlockians is the best part of our hobby.


Take a moment to think of some other Sherlockians that you talk with on a regular basis: scion members, online messages, emails, phone calls, etc.  Are these folks you would have crossed paths with if it weren't for the shared interest in Sherlock Holmes?  Probably not, and I'm going to bet that they your life is better for them.  How many times have they made you laugh, got you to view something through a different lens, or helped you to enjoy an afternoon, evening, or weekend?

Yeah, fellow Sherlockians are pretty great.


And there are so many different kinds of us!  Different careers, ages, outlooks, you name it, there's a Sherlockian to fit it.  Sure, many Sherlockians are old, white men.  (I'm getting pretty close to that myself)  And a lot of those old, white men are absolute delights to spend time with.  And look at the online world of Sherlockiana: the times, they are a changing.  The new takes on Sherlockiana, creative outlets for canonical thought, and some flat-out craziness will definitely keep us from getting stale!

I have spent the last six months talking with so many different types of Sherlockians and reading their thoughts on our shared interest for an upcoming book project, and I can't help but love this group of folks.  Everyone brings something unique to a Sherlockian discussion, whether you've reread the Canon annually for decades or you're having your first Twitter exchange with another Sherlockian.

But man, the meetings and events are where the real magic happens!  I'm active in three scions in St. Louis, and I always walk away from them happy I spent time with the people in the room.  In fact, I start to feel a little twitchy if I go too long without attending a meeting (Holmes wasn't the only one with an addiction, apparently).  


And the events?  If someone cares enough to travel, spend the money, and spend a weekend talking about a detective from 130 years ago, they are my kind of people!  Holmes in the Heartland (shameless plug: register for 2020 HERE), Holmes, Doyle & Friends, and the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota triennial conference are three conferences I've been lucky enough to attend, and there are plenty more that are on my bucket list (221B Con, Scintillation of Scions, Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium, etc.).

And the granddaddy of them all: the Baker Street Irregulars' birthday weekend in January.  I've never gone before because it's such a financial commitment, and I knew that I would feel like I missed out on something if I went to the weekend but not the dinner.  So I've abstained until I could do it all.

And this year I will.


Yesterday, I received an invitation to the BSI dinner, along with information about all of the other Sherlockian events happening in New York in January.  Even though I can't do it all ("Someday, I will get to an Adventuresses dinner," he said, staring longingly into the distance), I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to spend another weekend with Sherlockians!  Bookstores, dinners, lunches, talks, drinks (and drinks and drinks) with people who love the Canon as much, if not more than I do!  

Sherlockians are good people.  And spending time with Sherlockians is time well spent.